The First Car…

The last time we chatted, I was going to tell you about my first car and I hit a patch of nostalgia and spun out. Maybe I’ll make it today.

I’ve already established how important a car is to the physical and emotional needs of a young boy (er, I meant young man). Although most men learn to physically control and master the mechanics of driving a car, many of us never gain control of the emotional affect induced by cars.

 

My first car was a 41 Plymouth coupe. It was maroon blending to rust, the chrome was a little pitted, but still shiny, the interior was in pretty good shape.

The best feature was that for $50 it was mine. Mine!

Apollo never had a finer chariot when he raised the sun each morning. It was my access to adulthood.

My friends and acquaintances know that I am ostentatious bordering on pomposity.

Okay, I heard someone in the back whispering, “How can you be ostentatious or pompous when you own a 41 Plymouth in 1955?” Yes, I heard you! You know who you are and so do I.

Seat covers might dress it up. I bought a set of rolled and pleated seat covers (if you don’t know what that means) take my word, they were cool. The seats had a red and black diamond pattern with black vinyl trim and channel stitching running down the back. I paid $75 for the seat covers.

That was more than the car cost, but they would totally renovate the car. I spent a Saturday installing them.

When I was through I opened all of the car doors to display the renewed interior. I stood back, walked around to the other side of the car, got into the back seat and looked at the stitching on the seatback, got into the front seat, felt the sooth sleek seats, shook my head and realized sadly that it was still just a 41 Plymouth.

Paint, a new paint job; that would do it.

At the time I was working in a paint store. I bought some black enamel and borrowed an electric sprayer. This wasn’t a compressed air sprayer operating on electricity; it was simply a jar with a spray nozzle that plugged into an outlet.

I drove my car over to my father’s house and parked it in the garage. My stepbrother and I began the prep work, sanding off the rust and wiping the car down.

I filled the paint reservoir (otherwise known as a jar) with paint, plugged the sprayer into an outlet, and slowly squeezed the trigger, nothing happened. I checked the sprayer and realized that I had not opened the sprayer’s orifice. I adjusted the nozzle and once more squeezed the trigger. The sprayer sputtered and spit a blob of paint followed by drips, drops, and finally a mist. By evening the paint job was finished. I walked home and impatiently waited until the next day when I could view the results of our effort.

The next morning I slowly opened the door of the garage. The car was black, but it didn’t shine. I touched it, it felt like sandpaper, I turned the light on and saw that the surface was gritty, looking closer I saw dust embedded in the finish.

Now I knew why painting was performed in a closed off spray booth. After extensive smoothing with steel wool and a second coat, it still didn’t look any better.

Several months later I got an offer to buy it and accepted. Thus ended the saga of my first car.

Don’t fret I’ll have other car stories.

What was your first car like?

 

 

Cinderella’s Coach

Cars have always been my passion, from early teens continuing through today. It was more fun to fantasize over cars in my teens when they were sexy, sleek, and unapproachable, sort of like that cute blonde cheerleader. Today, I couldn’t even twist myself into a 300SL much less afford one. If I approached that cute cheerleader, she’d spray mace at me, run, and there’s no way I could catch her.

Enough fantasizing, back to the cars. Cars to a teenage boy were everything, freedom, status, coming of age, and bait in the great sport of fishing, fishing for girls—that is.

I have to digress again; we Seniors do a lot of that. I’ll never forget one of the most embarrassing dates I ever had. There was an attractive blonde in my grade who had some prodigious assets, you know what I mean. Don’t you? Sure you do. She brightened my day whenever she greeted me. I wasn’t one of the more popular kids, sorta tubby (I would have fit in better with today’s obese generation of kids) and I didn’t have a car

A Sweetheart ball was going to be held at a Masonic Hall. I just had to ask her. I practiced asking my mother out and after much coaching I felt I was ready. I hesitantly approached her and stuttered and sputtered an invitation. Was that a yes, had I actually heard a yes from this dream girl? Yes, I had.

How would we get there? I’d ask one of my friends to go with me! Bill had a black 49 Ford that was lowered in back and painted with flames, even had Laker plugs. Fabulous car, Cinderella’s coach couldn’t have been any better—except—two days before the dance Bill told me he was sorry he would not be able to go.

What do you mean you can’t go? I need you there, or at least Cinderella needed her coach.

I tried to make other arrangements, with no success. I had no choice but to tell Cinderella that I was sorry the ball was cancelled, at least for us.

I approached her and told her that Bill could’nt make it and we had no ride. Surprisingly, she said that she would rather just be with me. Then she added–we could take the bus—

Take the bus! Would Prince Charming have taken Cinderella on the bus? Of course not! But, I was not Prince charming and Cinderella said she wanted to be with me.

I showed up at her house carrying an orchid corsage, she greeted me at the door wearing a frothy white dress with a blue ribbon and lace directly under her breast line (oops, I meant bust line) she was beautiful and reminded me of a cotton candy cone. She took me to meet her mother and her mother pinned the corsage onto her gown, told us to be careful and have fun.

We boarded the bus and all of the townspeople watched my Cinderella work her way down the aisle, trying not to snag her gown on any of the seats. Their attention then turned to me and I could hear them thinking, couldn’t she do any better than that—, that being me.

I don’t remember the rest of the night, I had reached the nadir of self-respect. No one, absolutely, no one would ever or had ever taken Cinderella to the ball on a bus. The fascination that I had for her was completely erased and it was sometime before my self-esteem allowed me to ask another girl out.

How many of you can top my embarrassment on a data.

Let me hear from you.